We mentioned a few days back that we were going to do a post dedicated solely to the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota. There are dozens of amazing and talented brands in the streetwear industry today, almost exclusively hailing from either New York or Los Angeles. We feel as a whole the Midwest is a bit under represented and doesn’t get the respective it deserves, which is why many of our designs pay homage to great things from the Midwest. So today’s post is dedicated to shedding a little light on our home state of Minnesota. Drop a little education for those who think we’re just some awkward state in the north, perpetually covered in snow and talking like people in the movie Fargo.
The first part of the post is dedicated to one of the most influential songwriters and artists in history, Bob Dylan. Not only is Dylan from Minnesota, he’s from an even more obscure tiny northern town named Hibbing. He moved to Minneapolis in his late teens and began attending the University of Minnesota. That’s where he started to get into the music scene…and later become the iconic songwriter and performer we know today. You can’t really deny his influence when you have new school rappers (Kid Cudi) laying down tracks to Dylan’s tunes.
Before California had Arnold Schwarzenegger, Minnesota led the way for entertainers-turn-political figures with Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura. Jesse went from Navy SEAL, to professional wrestler (The Body), to kicking ass alongside Schwarzenegger in Predator, to eventually become Governor of Minnesota. In 1998 he was elected while running as an Independent, and in this system, you gotta take your hat off to anyone who manages that.
Back to entertainers. I have one word: Prince. Okay, okay, I know, he’s not Michael Jackson…But you cannot deny this man’s tremendous impact on the world of music. Not only his is real name Prince, he’s got ten platinum records and over thirty Top 40 hits under his belt. That’s right. Ten. Platinum. Records. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Prince is one of the most talented musicians in history. He was able to play a plethora of instruments, and throughout his career wrote many successful hits for other artists in the industry.
The next guy I’m sure many people haven’t heard of, but considering the surge in bike popularity lately I figured he deserved a spot. Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg Lemond. Although born in California, we’re willing to accept him as an official Minnesota transplant. Lemond managed to win three Tour de France titles in the eighties, a time when it was even harder for an American to compete in the Euro dominated sport. Now overshadowed by Lance Armstrong, at least Lemond can say he won one of his titles by the narrowest margin in Tour history – 8 seconds. Utilizing aerobars, a brand new technology in the late eighties, he beat Lauren Fignon in the final time trial and overcame a seemingly insurmountable deficit.
The last one might be a little cliché, but how could we possibly leave out one of the best rap/hip-hop groups to come out of the Midwest? Atmosphere, composed of Slug and Ant, has been putting out banger after banger since 1999, which marked the first good hip-hop CD I bought the release of their first official studio album, Overcast. Although they’ve turned down deals with major record labels numerous times, Atmosphere has managed to become a nationally known and respected duo. Minneapolis has a great underground music scene and we’re proud to say Rhymesayers calls it home. If you haven’t checked out their other artists (Brother Ali, Blueprint, MF Doom, P.O.S., etc.), be sure to head over to their webpage and check it out. Oh yeah, and don’t forget Soundset in May – it’s gonna be unbelievable.
All of the above photographs are copyrighted to their respective owners.
We recently stocked a new retailer, right in the heart of the Windy City, called Jugrnaut. Aside from having a great brand selection throughout the store, these guys have also put together an awesome in-store branded line.
We went into Jugrnaut to discuss our Spring products on our Midwest marketing tour in early January. After one look at the linesheets, it was clear to both of us: Check Your Six was perfect for Jugrnaut. Anybody in the Chicago area, make sure to stop in and grab yourself a shirt. Maybe even a hat, and some kicks…or even a backpack. The guys at Jugrnaut are cool as hell, go support what’s real!
Recently, we did an interview for WWS Magazine. We were asked, “what separates your brand from others in the industry?” It was a question that we should have been able to answer right away, a question that every businessman should have the answer to on the tip of his or her tongue. We didn’t want to give the corny “our brand is different because we represent individuals striving to represent a lifestyle indifferent”…blah, blah, blah. We find brand descriptions like this to be often quite corny, and 99% of the time end up being words that don’t mean anything.
So we thought about the question, and asked ourselves…what does separate us from other brands in the industry? Any clothing company strives to be separated by the designs themselves, and in the past we have been able to produce some unique and extremely popular designs. Since our Roll That Shit shirt was released last year, we have watched it immediately become our all-time best seller. Our Stampeding Elephants shirt had a similar result. But still…other brands put out designs that we fall in love with, coming primarily from the 10 Deep and Mishka camps.
Finally, it hit us…What makes us different is exactly what we take for granted, where we’re from. Almost every brand that we “compete” with is based out of the fashion capitals of the world: New York, Los Angeles, and globally speaking…Tokyo and London. Most small, upcoming brands based in these cities easily can become a dime-a-dozen. In fact, most brand owners tell us that that is the hardest thing for them to do, show why they are different than every other LA brand. At the end of the day, being Midwest-based is in fact a blessing in disguise. It distinguishes us nearly every other brand out there.
My apologies for letting this post drag on, and there has certainly been a point leading up to the interesting part (videos). Sometimes people think of the Midwest as a conglomeration of states filled with corn, potatoes, cheese, and lakes. In all reality, the Midwest has been consistently contributing pop culture that everybody experiences on a day-to-day basis. The examples lie in the music that I hope everybody enjoys. There’s the obvious Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco from Chicago, but I’m going to delve into the music I love from Cleveland and Detroit. I know right…Cleveland and Detroit!?!?..Tomorrow, we’re going to be going further into the land that we humbly represent. Minnesota.
Last Friday our Spring release party went off with a bang at Vs. Social. We’d like to thank everyone who came out to enjoy free Red Bull, PBR, and entertainment by Petey Wheatstraw, Kayne, and Bight Club. It was great meeting everyone who has been supporting the brand from the beginning as well as spreading the word to those who had never heard of us. Enjoy the pics below and look forward to us doing some more events at Vs. in the future.
We displayed our Spring ’10 line on the left, and some of our older designs on the right. We may re-release some older designs that people have liked.
Petey Wheatstraw holding it down at the beginning.
Malik, aka Mally, aka Mally612 has been a CY6 supporter from the beginning. Not only is he the most stand up dude you’ll ever meet, he can also spit hot fire. Check out his My Space page here. And why not, here’s his Twitter.
One of two of Bight Club, Nutz. They put on an amazing show, I had no idea it was gonna happen, but I’m glad they provided some excellent music and entertainment. Be sure to check them out Here.
The time nearly upon us for the Check Your Six Spring release party to be hosted at Vs. Social (Uptown location), this Friday, April 16th. Come out for a great time, including free PBR, free Red Bull, beer pong tournament, some great music and even better people! The flyer below should cover most of the details, but you can head on over to Vs Social and Wants Vs. Needs for more information! Oh…and here’s a map/directions to the Vs. Uptown location for those who don’t know. Google Map Directions.
I’m sure most of you already know the amazing lineup set in place for this year’s Soundset festival. If not…it is going to be a day filled with great hip-hop, culture, and for the second year running…Check Your Six antics. Everybody made our experience last year absolutely incredible, and we are more than excited for Soundset 2010. The videos selected for this blog post are all inspired by some of our favorite artists performing this year. Hopefully this can help some of you get familiar with, perhaps, some of the artists performing that you don’t listen to on a regular basis.